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there is always something (why I shoot film)

There are maybe ten shots left on the roll. Outside the metro, a collection of pigeons sit on minuscule ledges above two old men. They talk as all old men do, with operatic waves of their hands, sour expressions, belly laughs, eventually scratching their chins as they stare off at nothing in particular. I am pretending to take pictures of something near them, then swing across when they are not looking to shoot a few frames. At one point I surrender to the afternoon and move on.

And now, the courtyard that leads to the film lab. A great old building rests here, a school of architecture where students mill around dressed in black sucking on cigarettes with giant portfolios tucked under their arms. A young man approaches me. I am ready to tell him I have no idea what he is saying, but he wants to know where the film lab is. I jut my chin, telling him the door is just beyond a few bushes. He nods his thanks.

There are screens set up in a jagged line, sheathed in filthy white plastic to …

lost & found

She was my friend. A real friend. That day when the news came, I was in art class. J was gone. J, who introduced me to the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. J who drank warm beers with me in a field talking about how we would bust out of this town, J who had lost a boyfriend to cancer when she was just sixteen. Him, the wisecracking track star that disappeared and eventually came back with no hair, bloated, pale and then finally gone. He broke her heart. I remember all of that. She told me how he struggled to pull her tight jeans off before they made love on the floor. She laughed and laughed about that, long after he was gone. We told each other everything.

J was older, and we knew there would be a goodbye well before we had to manufacture one. It was easy, because she would be back. I would get older, maybe taller with some luck. It was not goodbye, but see you soon. And then the call came, about her new life far from home, about a bottle of pills, and then calling the ambulance but it was too late. I imagined the windows were open, a cold air flipping the drapes around. That was how it all ended in my mind. Cold and dark.

There was a memorial, and then the funeral. We all walked, her loose group of friends suddenly without jokes and sharp tongues. The service was sunny, and loud. I felt so strange in that church, a million miles away from myself. But we left as soon a it ended, somehow finding ourselves at a pizza place. Hungry or not, we went in and sat around the big round table in the back. There was nothing to say. The food sat cold in front of us, grease painting the paper plates.


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